XCOM 2 is a 2016 turn-based strategy game, developed by experienced studio Firaxis Games and published by 2K. The sequel to 2012’s series reboot XCOM: Enemy Unknown, it received rave reviews upon release for the ways it expanded on the formula that the original game practically perfected.
XCOM 2 was initially released as a PC exclusive, and it was only months before it released on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. A Switch version arrived in 2020, too. Praise was reserved for how the strategy formula translated to consoles, especially considering the genre is at home on PC.
XCOM 2 Premise
XCOM 2 places you 20 years after XCOM: Enemy Unknown, with the war against the aliens well-and-truly a losing battle. Your role in this is simple. Complete missions across the world to fend off alien attacks, eventually pushing them away entirely.
Prior to every mission, you find yourself in control of the Avenger, an alien ship repurposed for human needs. Here, you’ll invest time and resources into research and engineering projects which make your battles across the world easier. For example, you can bring alien corpses back from missions and perform autopsies, gaining greater knowledge about their anatomy than ever before. You can then use this information to create weapons that are much more effective against alien flesh. On the Avenger, you can head to the Barracks and check in on your soldiers, assigning their skill points and classes to best fit your needs in battle. The Avenger is also where you decide where to go next, with your decisions crucial in Earth’s chances of survival. This is arguably where much of the game’s depth comes from, as you’ll feel the weight of your decisions reflected in every single combat encounter.
The combat itself is deceptively simple. You and your soldiers are dropped in to a warzone, with a mission objective assigned at the start. These objective can be anything, from rescuing a prisoner to simply eliminating all alien presense. Adding to the stress, some of these missions have a time restraint. This means you can’t always be as tactical as you’d like. At the beginning of most levels, you won’t have any information on where the aliens are located, nor them on you.
Fog of War restricts your vision to what your soldiers see, so you must move carefully to ensure you get the jump on them. When combat begins, all bets are off. The turn-based combat assigns you a set of action points, which you and your team use up in every turn. You have to really think about every decision, as it could be your last. Death is permanent, too. If one of your soldiers falls on the battlefield, you’ll have to replace them at the Barracks with an up-and-comer.
What’s perhaps most interesting, is that XCOM 2 allows you to fail. It doesn’t reward failure, but it’s not Game Over if you do. If all of your soldiers die on a mission, it’s considered a mission failure, however it just becomes a natural part of the narrative, and the game factors that in. It’s a brilliant system, because it adds another layer of difficulty into XCOM 2.
XCOM 2 Main Characters
Perhaps the feature that makes XCOM 2 most engaging is how it puts the focus on your squad throughout. In every single playthrough, you’ll have a brand-new squad, any of which can die at any time. You can carry one soldier from the very start of the game, and have them die on the right mission, after you’ve spent hours getting attached to them. This approach results in a versatile narrative, with no two playthroughs the same.
Because of how the story puts the focus on you and your squad, it doesn’t really give time to any other characters, besides the nameless scientists and engineers working on the XCOM project. Your squad are the main characters of XCOM 2, regardless of how long they manage to live on the battlefield.
XCOM 2 Titles in the Series
XCOM is a well-known name to fans of the strategy genre. Dating back to the 90s as X-COM, the series helped define what the modern strategy game looks like under the development of Mythos Games.
Just after the turn of the century, the franchise went dormant for over a decade. That was until 2012’s XCOM: Enemy Unknown revived the games, and most importantly made players interested in them once again. We’ve seen a steady flow of titles from the XCOM franchise ever since. While we’re yet to see a fully-fledged sequel to XCOM 2 yet, the success of the games means it’s almost a certainty.
- X-COM: UFO Defense (1994)
- X-COM: Terror from the Deep (1995)
- X-COM: Apocalypse (1997)
- X-COM: Interceptor (1998)
- X-COM: First Alien Invasion (1999)
- X-COM: Enforcer (2001)
- XCOM: Enemy Unknown (2012)
- The Bureau: XCOM Declassified (2013)
- XCOM: Enemy Within (2013)
- XCOM 2 (2016)
- XCOM 2: War of the Chosen (2017)
- XCOM: Chimera Squad (2020)
- XCOM: Legends (2021)
XCOM 2 Cheat Codes
Despite player choice being key to gameplay in XCOM 2, unfortunately cheat codes are not part of that experience. That’s right – there are no official cheat codes in XCOM 2.
PC players of the game have one massive alternative option available – console commands. Before you can use them, you must first activate the ability to use the in-game console. You can do this by heading to your Steam launch options for XCOM 2, and adding the code “-allowconsole,” after which you can open the console with the tilde (~) key.
Once you’ve enabled the console, first enter the code “enablecheats” once you’re in-game. Then, enter any of the following console commands to customize your in-game experience.
|GiveFacility AdvancedWarfareCenter #
|Instantly builds Advanced Warfare Center at specified position in map index
|GiveFacility Laboratory #
|Instantly builds Laboratory at specified position in map index
|GiveFacility OfficerTrainingSchool #
|Instantly build Guerilla Tactics School at specified position in map index
|GiveFacility PowerRelay #
|Instantly builds Power Relay at specified position in map index
|GiveFacility ProvingGround #
|Instantly builds Proving Ground at specified position in map index
|GiveFacility PsiChamber #
|Instantly builds Psi Chamber at specified position in map index
|GiveFacility ResistanceComms #
|Instantly builds Resistance Comms at specified position in map index
|GiveFacility ShadowChamber #
|Instantly builds Shadow Chamber at specified position in map index
|GiveFacility UFODefense #
|Instantly builds UFO Defense at specified position in map index
|GiveFacility Workshop #
|Instantly builds Workshop at specified position in map index
|Allows you to build all facilities for free, immediately
|Allows you to build all facilities
|Allows you to build all facilities immediately
|Makes all facilities free for you to build
|Ends your current battle. If all objectives are complete, you win. If not, you lose
|Makes all your units invincible
|Makes all your units invincible with unlimited ammo
|Every hit is a critical hit
|Gives selected unit specified number of action points
|GiveResource abilitypoint #
|Gives you specified number of ability points for learning abilities
|GiveResource CorpseAdventMEC #
|Gives you specified number of Advent MEC corpses
|GiveResource CorpseAdventOfficer #
|Gives you specified number of Advent Officer corpses
|GiveResource CorpseAdventShieldbearer #
|Gives you specified number of Advent Shieldbearer corpses
|GiveResource CorpseAdventStunLancer #
|Gives you specified number of Advent Stun Lancer corpses
|GiveResource CorpseAdventTrooper #
|Gives you specified number of Advent Trooper corpses
|GiveResource AlienAlloy #
|Gives you specified number of Alien Alloys
|GiveResource CorpseArchon #
|Gives you specified number of Archon corpses
|GiveResource CorpseBerserker #
|Gives you specified number of Berserker corpses
|additem heavyplatedarmor #
|Gives you specified number of E.X.O. Suits
|GiveResource EleriumCore #
|Gives you specified number of Elerium Cores
|GiveResource EleriumDust #
|Gives you specified number of Elerium Crystals
|GiveResource CorpseFaceless #
|Gives you specified number of Faceless corpses
|GiveResource Intel #
|Gives you specified amount of Intel
|GiveResource CorpseMuton #
|Gives you specified number of Muton corpses
|additem EpicPCSAgility #
|Gives you specified number of PCS: Superior Agility
|additem EpicPCSConditioning #
|Gives you specified number of PCS: Superior Conditioning
|additem EpicPCSFocus #
|Gives you specified number of PCS: Superior Focus
|additem EpicPCSPerception #
|Gives you specified number of PCS: Superior Perception
|additem EpicPCSSpeed #
|Gives you specified number of PCS: Superior Speed
|giveresource CorpseSectoid #
|Gives you specified number of Sectoid corpses
|additem lightplatedarmor #
|Gives you specified number of Spider Suits
|additem ReloadUpgrade_Sup #
|Gives you specified number of Superior Auto-Loaders
|additem ClipSizeUpgrade_Sup #
|Gives you specified number of Superior Expanded Magazines
|additem FreeFireUpgrade_Sup #
|Gives you specified number of Superior Hair Triggers
|additem CritUpgrade_Sup #
|Gives you specified number of Superior Laser Sights
|additem FreeKillUpgrade_Sup #
|Gives you specified number of Superior Repeaters
|additem AimUpgrade_Sup #
|Gives you specified number of Superior Scopes
|additem MissDamageUpgrade_Sup #
|Gives you specified number of Superior Stocks
|GiveResource supplies #
|Gives you specified number of Supplies
|GiveResource CorpseViper #
|Gives you specified number of Viper corpses
|additem heavypoweredarmor #
|Gives you specified number of W.A.R. Suits
|additem lightpoweredarmor #
|Gives you specified number of Wraith Suits
|Gives you a Scientist with specified skill level
|Gives you an Engineer with specified skill level
|Gives you the specified tech
|Heals every soldier in the barracks to full HP
|Levels up every soldier in the barracks by the specified amount
|Removes the specified amount of doom from the Avatar Project.
|Restarts the level from the beginning
|Restarts the level with the same seed that it generated with
|Makes the AI skip a turn
|Changes the speed of the game, with 1 as default. For example, 0.5 is half speed, 2 is double speed
|Teleports all units to the location you have selected with your cursor
|Toggles the Fog of War
|Toggles rain on or off
|Conceals or reveals your squad
|Gives infinite Action Points to both you and your enemies
|Unlimited moves during combat
XCOM 2 Cheat Code FAQs
How Do I Use XCOM 2 Console Commands on Console?
Sadly, as is the case with many cases, you’re not able to use XCOM 2 console commands on console. They’re by far and away the most efficient way to cheat in the game. However, with no way to open the console on PlayStation 4, Switch, and Xbox One, console players will have to repel the alien invasion the hard way.
How Do I Use Mods For XCOM 2?
If you’re on PC, you can use mods in XCOM 2 to add a variety of different content to the game that would otherwise be impossible. These can be small lore-friendly mods, all the way to total conversions that add soldiers from franchise such as Halo and Star Wars into the game. Sure, it doesn’t make much sense, but there’s no doubt that it’s a lot of fun!
If you want to download XCOM 2 mods, the best place to do so is over on Nexus Mods.
How Do I Enable The Console in XCOM 2 Without Steam?
If you own XCOM 2 on PC, but not on Steam, you can still enable the in-game console another way. Rather than doing it through your Steam launch options, head to the folder you’ve installed the game. This is usually C:\Program Files (x86)\XCOM 2. Then, move to the folder Binaries\Win64\Launcher.
From here, right click the file ModLauncherWPF.exe, and create a shortcut for it. Right click the shortcut, and press Properties. In the Properties menu, there should be a box that says “Target:” where you should add the phrase “-allowconsole.” Hit apply, and ensure that whenever you want to use console commands, you launch the game from the shortcut you’ve created. It sounds tedious, but really it’s just as easy as doing it on Steam.
The image featured at the top of this post is ©2K.